I’m heading to an Episcopal church this morning and want to predict it will be extremely boring. Episcopals so far seem so reasonable and normal. The Episcopal church here in the US even approves of homosexuality AND has a blessing which can be given to same sex couples. Come on Episcopal church! You are impossible to pick on. That’s my rant for now. An actual post about the church will be along soon I hope.
So I’m late to this, but I wanted to get a few of my thoughts down on *paper* (cyberpaper?). In an interview the Pope gave on a plane, he was asked a question regarding a so-called gay lobby at the Vatican. So first thing I wondered is, what the heck is a gay lobby? This is a term being used by the Italian media to signify a supposed set of gay priests who may have influence in the Catholic Church as an entity. Apparently it stems from something vague the Pope said in June about gay influences in the church. I’m not gonna try and get at what he said then, because I’m more interested in what he’s just said. Here is the direct quote (translated from Italian):
When I meet a gay person, I have to distinguish between their being gay and being part of a lobby. If they accept The Lord and have good will, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency is not the problem. They are our brothers.
That is what he said and I left context in place as best I could. You would not believe how hard it was to find this quote. Most sources have shortened it to a soundbite: who am I to judge?
I am including a video of his remarks so you can see it for yourself. He mentions alot of things, and all in Italian with translation at the bottom of the screen.
As for what I think? It’s nice the Pope is making it clear he isn’t out to remove celibate gay priests. He is again symbolically reaching out in friendship and welcoming gay church membership. We can split hairs over the act itself later (which the church still considers a sin). At least it’s a start. And it’s a far cry from saying gay=pedophile or from Former Pope Benedict saying homosexuals have no business being priests. I’d also point out that sex outside marriage is also still a sin, as is divorce NOT via annulment. There are plenty of places where nobody is bothering shunning the people that commit these sins.
This week I want to do a post on my thoughts regarding homosexuality. Specifically, how I think it’s ok. Well, for starters, I’ve always thought of love as a positive thing. Everything I’ve heard suggests homosexuality (and heterosexuality for that matter) is basically about love. So it seems, to me, love is good and other people should stop bothering about how or who you love as long as there’s mutual consent. But, since condemning homosexuality is a religious topic, I decided to check out the biblical basis for this.
Among Leviticus laws:
It’s illegal for a man to lie with a man as with a women. Punishment is death.
No mention is made of any problem with women lying with women. I am not aware that it is mentioned at all in any book of the bible.
It is illegal to give your children to Molech. (Who is Molech?) Also punishable by death.
It is illegal to commit adultery. This one is also punishable by death. These are all mentioned in Leviticus 20.
In chapter 24 we are told a little story illustrating that anyone who blasphemes God’s name will be killed.
Ok so, just comparing these pieces I could say IF sex between males is bad, adultery is just as bad, and blaspheming God’s name is even worse, because we were given a cautionary tale. Since I don’t believe taking God’s name in vain is too terrible, I should be even less upset by adultery or men having sex. And it does sound like the law addresses just the sex part, not the being in love part. Even those taking every little bit of the bible literally should still be ok with the emotional aspect of a same sex relationship.
Where the laws could have come from:
If the laws in Leviticus had to do with keeping healthy, it seems possible they are out of date. There are instructions to take sores of a possibly leperous nature to priest- nowadays we’d go to a doctor who is far better equipped than a priest. There are restrictions against pork-we know how to kill trichinosis and other microbes now so it can be eaten safely. There is a ban on men having anal sex- we know that sex in that area can be problematic because of bleeding and germs, but we now have condoms to prevent disease. I’m thinking Leviticus needs an update real bad.
Sodom and Gomorrah:
I have some problems with this story that make it difficult to take it as is. Here’s my paraphrase of Genesis 19:
Lot lives in the town of Sodom. Two angels visit Lot and he invites them to stay overnight. That night, all the men in town surround the house and pound on the door. They ask Lot to send out his two guests so they can “know them carnally”. Lot says, “Please, these men are my guests. I have two virgin daughters, take them and do whatever you want with them.” But the men instead try to grab Lot. The angels pull him inside and they shut the door. The next day God destroys the city.
How seriously can I take the morality in a story that involves a man offering his innocent daughters as a bribe for an angry sex-crazed mob? It’s also difficult to say the problem in Sodom was man on man sex. To me it sounds like a story condemning rape, or possibly stressing the importance of hospitality. And some books of the bible indicate that Sodom had other issues including treating the poor badly, idleness, and being prideful. In short, it sounds like a lot of exaggeration has gone on about what the bible actually says. Even assuming no distortion, there are so many old biblical things we’ve moved on from worrying about. Generally we aren’t too concerned with mixing fibers of two kinds in one article of clothing. Or with breaking any pot that a mouse or chameleon has died inside. There are many things we’ve left behind. It’s time this was another one.